COPA witness says LEGO was ‘an inspiration’ for Craig Wright

  • Legal teams for COPA called three expert witnesses to the stand. 
  • The witnesses on Thursday are Craig Wright’s former coworkers. They testified via video from Australia.

Eight days of testimony by Craig Wright in the UK High Court of Justice are complete. On Thursday, attention pivoted to cross-examination of expert witnesses. 

Attorneys for the pro-Bitcoin plaintiff, the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), as well as the pro-BSV defendant, Craig Wright, began calling their opposition’s witnesses to the (virtual) stand. All witnesses from Thursday’s hearing testified via web conference from Australia.

COPA members include Coinbase, Kraken, MicroStrategy, Block, and other well-capitalized crypto companies. They are suing Wright, who supports a forked version of BTC trading as BSV, and are hoping to gain an injunction that would prevent him from claiming he wrote or owns the copyright of Bitcoin’s whitepaper.

On Thursday, COPA lawyers questioned bioinformatician Ignatius Pang, businessman Robert Jenkins, and cybersecurity expert Shoaib Yousuf who all worked with Wright prior to his Bitcoin days.

Wright didn’t make an appearance during the proceedings. Instead, he had to attend a contempt of court hearing related to another lawsuit in Florida, Kleiman v. Wright.

Read more: Three-judge panel says Craig Wright wasn’t in partnership with David Kleiman

Expert witness 1: Ignatius Pang

Craig Wright claims that Pang is a former employee of C01N, a company Wright founded. He once tried to use Pang’s alleged employment to claim a $5,000 credit in a filing with the Australian tax office. 

Pang says he received a laptop and cash payments with a total value of $5,000.

However, evidence of formal agreements or invoices was hard to find. Pang didn’t clarify which company paid him, though it would likely have been C01N.

According to COPA’s legal team, Lord Grabiner KC turned down a chance to cross-examine six of the expert witnesses on behalf of Wright. Grabiner clarified that Wright’s legal team didn’t request to cross-examine those six witnesses. 

However, he did question Pang about his work at BDO in 2008, during which Pang was one of Wright’s co-workers. He also asked a few questions about Pang’s relevant work for another company, Hotwire, from 2012 to 2015. 

Pang acknowledged that BDO paid him to create a document that Wright showed interest in using for InfoDefense, Wright’s company. 

Pang also said Wright floated the idea of a ‘Lego blockchain’ when he showed Pang a valuable Lego set. According to Pang, Wright called it a “recursive Chinese chain puzzle.” However, Pang seemed dismissive of the idea, saying it would be difficult to accomplish using a Lego-style method.

Overall, the cross-examination of Pang focused on clarifying some of his evidentiary submissions to ensure that he thoroughly responded and had the credibility to answer accurately. Clarifying questions are common during expert witness cross-examination, as the witness is neither defendant nor plaintiff.

Expert witness 2: Robert Jenkins

After a brief break, the next Australian expert witness, Robert Jenkins, took the stand via web conference.

Jenkins had also worked for BDO and said he hired one of Wright’s companies, DeMorgan, for some IT security work regarding Vodafone. 

Turning to the details, COPA’s attorney highlighted statements in which Jenkins seemed to refer to a ‘genesis log entry,’ which could have been a reference to Bitcoin’s genesis block. 

Jenkins countered that he relied on his recollection of Wright’s supposed description of a log file that used hashing — a cryptographic operation — to protect against tampering.

Jenkins also recalled discussing e-gold in 2001, one of the many nascent, pre-Bitcoin attempts at creating digital currencies. PayPal, for example, was not available in Australia at that time. Likewise, Jenkins recalled that it wasn’t easy to pay for things on eBay.

Jenkins had previously testified in Wright’s case against Hodlonaut. COPA’s attorney reminded him that he had sworn to tell the truth in that case. Jenkins said he abided by that, “To the best of my ability.”

Robert Jenkins worked at Westpac, a major Australian bank.

Read more: Craig Wright remembers smashing Satoshi’s hard drive while on sedatives

Jenkins denied any awareness of HashCash. He claims to have discussed trust in banks with Wright, likely a reference to evidence that Satoshi Nakamoto aimed to eliminate the need for trusted third parties like financial institutions when creating Bitcoin. 

Jenkins also confirmed that he’d worked on a grid computing project called OPRA, which he says he discussed with Wright.

Expert witness 3: Shoaib Yousuf

After another break, Shoaib Yousuf took the virtual stand. At about this point, the judge joked about the witness giving “his evidence to me” after COPA’s attorney said Yousuf did not have to call him “my Lord.”

Yousuf confirmed having met Wright in 2006 and having conversations with him about various topics. He didn’t remember all the topics of conversation but did recall having a conversation about digital currencies in 2006, despite his lack of knowledge of information like David Chaum’s eCash.

Yousuf confirmed having co-founded the company that became C01N in 2011. However, he says he left after about 10 months.

He also confirmed having testified in the Hodlonaut case. 

Yousuf didn’t recall all the details he had presented as testimony, which seemed to involve exactly when he took a job in Malaysia. 

He also denied being directly involved in C01N’s day-to-day operations — despite still holding a director title — besides owning some shares around that time. 

He also didn’t recall many details about a project that COPA’s attorney described as ‘scriptable money‘ other than information that he says Wright relayed to him in company updates.

Yousuf mentioned that there had been a plan to buy him out of his C01N equity, but Wright didn’t actually send him the money for that buyout.

After the judge dismissed Yousuf, attorneys for COPA and Wright seemed to have a brief discussion during which COPA mentioned that Yousuf was likely a “director with fiduciary duties” who “had nothing” regarding Wright’s credibility.

Soon, the court adjourned for the day. Friday will continue cross-examinations of additional expert witnesses.

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